SWAT Team from WCMS presents tobacco education to fourth graders

By | May 6, 2019 7:50 am

Members of the SWAT Team from White County Middle School interact with younger students as they help educate them about the dangers of tobacco and vaping. (Photo by RACHEL AUBERGER)

By Rachel Auberger

The SWAT Team (Stop With All Tobacco) that is comprised of White County Middle School students recently spent time teaching all of the district fourth-grade students about the dangers of tobacco and vaping.

The SWAT Team is an extension of Coordinated School Health and is supervised by Beverly Dronebarger, director of the Family Resource Center. According to Dronebarger, members of the team were chosen through teacher recommendation.

“This is a great group of students,” Dronebarger said. “They have been eager to learn the facts behind the dangers of tobacco use as well as very energetic in their presentations.”

Fourth-grade students throughout the district were brought to the middle school where the SWAT Team set up stations throughout the auxiliary gym. Students were divided into small groups and rotated throughout the stations learning about the dangers of tobacco from the team members.

The small group presentations included things such as working models of both a healthy lung and a smoker’s lung, activities to show the dangers of second-hand smoke, the dangers of vaping, the effect tobacco has on the environment, the changes tobacco use can cause to a person’s mouth as well as to a person’s skin, and a question-and-answer session.

“The team members did an excellent job,” Dronebarger said. “They were so well prepared. They really presented their information and kept the students engaged the entire time.”

Dronebarger explained to the students that everyone knows someone who uses tobacco, and that does not make them a bad person. She explained that tobacco use is simply a habit they began, possibly before they knew of the risks associated with it.

“We want you to be able to make an informed decision about your health and your future,” she explained to them.

At the end of the hour, students were given an opportunity to sign a Tobacco Free Pledge.

Dronebarger told the students, “This is a contract with yourself – a decision to avoid harmful habits and choose a healthy lifestyle.”

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